Thursday, 3 April 2008

A Cry for Help: the Shopping Edition

So I have some experience with the shopping thing, the whole girl-in-the-men’s-department thing. But I’d love any suggestions to make it even a tiny bit easier. I do realize that there’s not actually a red neon signing floating above my head when I wade through the women’s wear and venture into the men’s side of the store, but I could use that extra dose of suave that comes from confidence. Oh boy, could I use that.

The highlight of last night’s foray was definitely the store that actually had signs hanging from the ceiling: “Male Clothing” and “Female Clothing”. Should we assume they get together and make baby clothes? Seriously, are people in that much danger of buying something that doesn’t suit their own gendered selves, that they need special signs and elaborate divisions to keep them from messing up? I finally did try some stuff on from a cheapo knockoff store (god, the exchange rate is killing me, what I really want to wear is Armani). I had to haul them upstairs to the women’s fitting room, where the attendant kind of giggled, but I made it in and took a few deep breaths. Nothing fit; in fact one pair of trousers had to be meant for one of those unicycle stilts guys. The right width and literally eighteen inches too long. And I am neither short nor round in the scheme of things.


sinclair said...

ah man, sounds like a frustrating experience. shopping pretty much exclusively in the men's department these days (except for bras, I guess), it's taken me a long time to get here ... and I so wish I could just hand you that extra dose of suave ... well, maybe you can consider mine on loan to you until you get yer own? :)

I'm still thinking about what you said here & this (fairly typical, I think) butch dilemma ... I want to say "fake it 'til you make it" and also, don't let that stupid attendant's giggles phaze you. I still get giggled at, looked at funny, refused any help in the men's section, denied the men's changing room, etc. but underneath I have that feeling that they're being assholes and my identity is just fine, thankyouverymuch, so it rolls off my back instead of sticking to me.

no idea if anything I'm saying about my own experiences are helpful to ya ... but I'd love to have a dialogue about this, cause seriously, it's one of those parts of gender identity that is such a challenge.

Leo MacCool said...

Thanks.... it is helpful to realize it's the world being difficult, not me just doing it wrong. I had better luck yesterday--maybe shopping on a crowded, busy day is the best idea? Everyone so intent on their own business and dealing with the crush of people. Anyway I just tried on jackets/vests in the store proper, dodging the fitting room entirely (not possible for some things obviously). And actually felt perfectly at ease in one place (topman, a bit out of my price range but i got a nice neckscarf thing, mad trendy here). I don't know whether that was because it's just an easygoing shop, or a gayboy one, or nascent suavity of my own.

Anonymous said...

"it's the world being difficult, not me just doing it wrong." that's exactly it, i love the way you said that.

it's funny, though, how moving out of your comfort zone can make the world look a lot more judgmental than it really is. i grew up always wearing boy clothes, so i felt a lot like what you described when i started shopping in the women's section...but i'm fairly sure no one was *actually* staring in shock at a girl shopping for girls clothes =)

hehe, when i was in the UK, my girl got an "i like girls" t-shirt at topman...i don't think that's what they had in mind ;)

Leo MacCool said...

Thanks, Lady Brett! You're so right-- a lot of the judgement I imagine is coming from other people is really coming from my own damn head.

Kyle said...

Ahhh, yes, the shopping dilemma. I went shopping recently for some shirts and took my femme girlfriend along. Even if you don't have a girlfriend, having a femme along is super useful. They give awesome advice about what looks attractive on you.

I think it also helps in dealing with other people's reactions. When you're with a friend, it's easier to blow other people off.

I got lucky because we hit some mega sales and since I've lost so much weight, a lot of stuff fits me really well now. And, man, you should have seen the look in my GF's eyes... sweeeet.